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Doctors Want to Move Patients from On Hold to Online

Intuit Health Survey Spotlights Opportunities for Physicians to Become More Efficient, Increase Patient Engagement and Reduce Billing Confusion

CARY, NC – Jun. 14, 2011 – Patients are losing patience. Every day, thousands of people try to call their doctors to request medical appointments, ask clinician questions, renew prescriptions and receive important information.

Unfortunately, many of them hang up after long hold times and need information more urgently than the traditional mail can deliver. To improve office efficiency, answer patient demand and increase patient satisfaction and engagement, doctors and patients alike are saying it's time they took advantage of easy-to-use technology and move their relationship online.

The Intuit Health Patient Engagement Study, conducted in April, found 95 percent of doctors want their patients to fill out medical and registration forms online before their appointment. When Intuit Health asked patients about filling out forms and the registration process, 81 percent said they'd like to move this task online too.

The survey also identified many opportunities for practices to become far more efficient, including many areas where they could save time, money and build stronger, ongoing relationships with patients.

  • Nearly one of every four health care providers who do not offer an online communication solution feels it is difficult for patients to reach them to ask questions, make appointments or receive lab results.
  • Nearly half reported their practices are running 30-60 minutes behind schedule.
  • One-third of providers say their staff spends three or more hours each day trying to reach patients to communicate follow-up information.
  • Eighty-three percent of doctors say their staff has to remind their patients more than once before a patient pays a bill.
  • Forty-five percent say phone interruptions happen so frequently they impact office efficiency.
  • Seventy-two percent say patients complain about having to repeatedly fill out the same paper forms, and more than 50 percent say their patients complain about spending too much time in the waiting room.

"Customers already use online self-service tools today in banking, travel, shopping, and communications. There's a huge opportunity for providers that are still using phone, fax and mail as the primary ways they communicate with patients," said Steve Malik, president and general manager of Intuit Health.

"Providers have at their disposal a large, qualified, eager and no-cost workforce that wants to accomplish these key tasks and communicate more efficiently online. When doctors give patients convenient and easy-to-use online tools, they'll be amazed at the positive impact an engaged and satisfied patient can have on their staff's time and their bottom line."

Doctor, Patient Disconnect on the Clarity of Medical Bills

Intuit's research also identified how offering easily understandable bills can improve a doctor's ability to get paid in a timely manner.

  • Ninety-eight percent of providers believe their bills clearly tell the patient whom to pay. Conversely, one-fifth of patients surveyed say they have no idea where to send their medical payments.
  • Eighty-eight percent of providers believe their bills clearly show the amount due and how that figure was calculated. On the other hand, 37 percent of patients do not have confidence that the amount they are being asked to pay is correct.
  • Nearly two-thirds of doctors say it takes them an average of up to two months to receive payment after they send patients a bill.
  • Eighty-four percent of doctors say that up to a quarter of their patients have let a medical bill go past due or to a collection agency.
Should They Just Keep Chasing Payments?

"We spent too much time chasing our patients for payments during work hours. Intuit Health's online bill payment solution dramatically improved our collections," said Gina Delmont, chief operating officer at The Orthopedic Clinic Association in Phoenix, Ariz. "The portal gets our patients and staff engaged, and improves our office work flow and revenue. It's something every practice should implement."

Intuit Health's patient portal currently enables more than 3.8 million patients nationwide to easily and securely communicate with 42,500 providers online. Patients and their doctors used the portal 149,000 times each day, on average, over the last three months to pre-register, request appointments and prescription refills, understand and pay bills, complete medical forms, receive lab results and clinical summaries, conduct virtual office visits, and exchange messages for related care and administrative issues.

A separate study of more than 100 current Intuit Health patient portal clients clearly shows the benefit of offering online communications. The portal increased productivity and efficiency for providers staff by reducing time spent on routine tasks such as mailing or calling patients with follow-up reminders. It also helped doctors to stay on schedule, get paid faster and have fewer patient bills go to collection. Portal clients also reported having more satisfied patients, and received fewer phone calls and complaints about waiting room times and repeatedly filling out the same forms.

"Intuit Health's solution has greatly reduced the wait time in the lobby, and staff is no longer spending hours scanning paperwork, which gives them time to help other departments as needed," said Delmont. "Now that patients can request an appointment online it has significantly reduced phone traffic and long on-hold times."

Meaningful Use Driving Online Solutions

In addition to improving the overall patient experience, the survey showed that qualifying for incentive dollars under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act's Electronic Health Record Stimulus is also driving adoption of EHR and portal solutions. Sixty-seven percent of providers say they plan to offer a patient portal, communication or EHR solutions in the next 12 months to provide patients with access to health records and clinical information, appointment scheduling and prescription refills.

Survey Methodologies
  • The Intuit Health Patient Engagement Study was fielded by SurveyMonkey in April, polling 556 practices across the United States.
  • The Intuit Health Patient Portal Client Study was fielded by SurveyMonkey in from March-April, polling 113 Intuit Health patient portal clients across the United States.
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About Intuit Health

Intuit Health improves health care by developing groundbreaking clinical, administrative and financial services that connect providers and patients. We've combined Intuit's legendary approach to simplifying complex tasks with Medfusion's expertise in provider-patient communications. The result: It's easier than ever to understand and pay medical bills, get lab results, schedule appointments, and give patients timely electronic access to their health information.

Intuit Health is part of the MGMA AdminiServe® Partner Network and a Member Advantage partner for the American Academy of Family Physicians. Intuit Health's PHR 10.7 is 2011/2012 compliant and was certified as an EHR Module for the timely access of electronic health records by the CCHIT®, an ONC-ATCB. Learn more at www.intuithealth.com.

About Intuit Inc.

Intuit Inc. is a leading provider of business and financial management solutions for small and mid-sized businesses; financial institutions, including banks and credit unions; consumers and accounting professionals. Its flagship products and services, including QuickBooks®, Quicken® and TurboTax®, simplify small business management and payroll processing, personal finance, and tax preparation and filing. ProSeries® and Lacerte® are Intuit's leading tax preparation offerings for professional accountants. Intuit Financial Services helps banks and credit unions grow by providing on-demand solutions and services that make it easier for consumers and businesses to manage their money.

Founded in 1983, Intuit had annual revenue of $3.5 billion in its fiscal year 2010. The company has approximately 7,700 employees with major offices in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, India and other locations. More information can be found at www.intuit.com.

Intuit and the Intuit logo, Intuit Health, among others, are registered trademarks and/or registered service marks of Intuit Inc. in the United States and other countries. Other parties' trademarks or service marks are the property of their respective owners and should be treated as such.

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